O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene! Shakespeare
(The Real Amy Lee, Singing School, Dallas, TX, age 4)
Redheads make up a small percentage of the population. They have been the target of much ridicule and feared for their fiery temperament. Montague Summers, in his translation of Malleus Maleficarum, notes during the Middle Ages red hair and green eyes were thought to be the sign of a witch, a werewolf, or a vampire. We endure being called such names as Gingers (a UK term popularized by South Park) and Carrot Top.
There were times in various cultures redheads have been prized. Many painters have exhibited a fascination with red hair. The colour “titian” takes its name from the painter Titian, who often painted women with red hair. Early Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli’s famous painting The Birth of Venus depicts the mythological goddess Venus as a redhead.
There is the belief that redheads are highly sexed; Jonathan Swift satirizes redhead stereotypes in part four of Gulliver’s Travels, “A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms,” He writes: “It is observed that the red-haired of both sexes are more libidinous and mischievous than the rest, whom yet they much exceed in strength and activity.” Swift also writes that: “…neither was the hair of this brute [a Yahoo] of a red colour (which might have been some excuse for an appetite a little irregular) but black as a sloe…”
Speaking of Yahoo. I was crazy about Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of INXS. Hutch really wasn’t much to look at, he had a head full of curly hair (like me), a funny nose, and was only an inch or two taller than my five foot four inches. Not to mention he had a really funny accent. But, there was something about him, something inexplicably sexy and more mature than most of the artists who hung around. My attraction to him mystified me. I had been joking around with Hutch and learning Aussie slang when I learned the slang word for redhead (Bluey/Blue). I added it to the lyrics of Mystify.
“All veils and misty streets of blue”
While talking to Andrew Farris about “what if” Hutch and I worked out, had a family, what our child might look like. I think we both agreed it would be the weirdest looking Bluey with wild hair. Yep, this where he got the idea for the ’80’s Australian funny man Yahoo Serious . Can you believe Serious tried to sue Yahoo over the use of his name? Oh, you might not realize they were not just into investing their money in development of books and movies, Crocodile Dundee for example, but also in technology.
Joe Elliott of Def Leppard has always said his favorite color is red. He even had 2 redheads in his band, Steve Clark under all that bleach was a redhead and drummer Rick Allen. Actually, Joe made the comment once I reminded him of Rick Allen when he was 15 and joined the band.
Before I met Tom Cruise he had dated redhead Melissa Gilbert, starred in All The Right Moves with Leah Thompson and then went on to marry Nicole Kidman.
Kurt Cobain had family members who were redheads, or would dye their hair red.
Australia was not the only one to have a Yahoo [redhead] but Gene Simmons of Kiss befriended comedian Carrot Top.
I couldn’t have been more than 16 when Bob Geldof, Irish singer, songwriter, author, occasional actor and political activist, came to meet me. Geldof of the band Boomtown Rats who had albums produced by the ever mysterious John “Mutt” Lange who produced Def Leppard’s ’83 Pyromania.
Geldof had starred as “Pink” in ’82 Pink Floyd’s The Wall and where I came up with the singers stage name P!nk which I wrote songs for. I remember it was about this time that Michael Hutchence had been talking about helping to organize Australia’s version of Live Aid known as Oz for Africa.
Tom Cruise and Kurt Cobain dressed me in a belly dancer outfit, for some unknown reason the day I met Geldof, and came up with the song “Genie In A Bottle” eventually to be performed by Christina Aguilera. Some of you Kiss and Gene Simmons fans might know his family calls him Genie, but the song was more inspired by the costume and Barbara Eden’s role in the ’65 to ’70 television show I Dream of Jeannie which I grew up watching even in re-runs.
Not sure if any of you are old enough to remember the English/Australian group the Bee Gee’s who enjoyed great success during the ’70’s disco era. I grew up listening to them being played everywhere, in movies, on tv, and even at the roller skating rink on the weekends where one could often hear everything from George Clinton’s Atomic Dog to The Gap’s You Dropped The Bomb On Me, and Wipe Out by the Surfaris happened to be a favorite too.
The Bee Gee’s brother Barry Gibbs falsetto inspired me when I wrote Supermassive Black Hole. The song was also inspired by a conversation I had with Michael Jackson years before about Stephen Hawkin’s Black Hole Theory and the Big Bang Theory. Hawkins had been in the news quite a bit at the time. This must have been about the time that Kurt Cobain decided to name Courtney Love’s band Hole. After coming up with the song, they wanted to know what I wanted to name the band and I told them Muse.